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The East African : Oct 24th 2015
10 DECISION TIME, DAR A change of guard beckons Sunday as Tanzania’s young and restless voters head to the polls Calling the election has been di∞cult afte≥ the gove≥nment passed a law that potentially c≥iminalised the publication of uno∞cial statistics, including opinion polls By DANIEL K. KALINAKI The EastAfrican a fading picture of Julius Nyerere, grey-haired like a stern but loving grandfather, looks down at diners. Next to it is a framed picture of President Jakaya Kikwete who Tanzanians will be seeking to replace when they go to the polls on Sunday. The two leading candidates, I John Pombe Magufuli of the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), and Edward Lowassa of the opposition Ukawa alliance have both repeatedly invoked Nyerere’s name during their campaigns but shifting demographics and political realities mean Tanzania’s Founding Father has, in this election more than any other, become a symbol of the country’s past promise, but not its future prospects. Formed in 1977 through the merger of the Tanganyika African National Union (Tanu), the ruling party in the Mainland and the Afro-Shirazi Party that ruled in Zanzibar, CCM has been in power since Independence and is one of the oldest and most entrenched political parties on the continent. Yet, like its counterpart, the Af- rican National Congress in South Africa, CCM has shown signs of weakness and fatigue that could be costly in Sunday’s election, including the defection of former prime minister Lowassa to the opposition after internal disagreements over Kikwete’s succession. Such internal disputes are not new. In 1995, in the country’s first multiparty general elections, CCM was rocked by the defection of minister Augustine Mrema and Nyerere had to expend precious personal political capital to stop the renegade official from taking power. “Tanzania stinks of corruption,” the famously austere Nyerere said at the time. “The State House is a holy place. I was not elected by the people of Tanzania to turn it into a den of racketeers. This year’s elec- n a sweltering makeshift restaurant in downtown Dar es Salaam, tions will be ruled by money. Previously, candidates were asked where and how they got their property. Wealth was not a qualification. This year wealth will be the primary qualification!” Twenty years later, and after a series of mega public procurement scandals over the past decade, corruption has slithered down the list of priorities for many Tanzanians. The choice is between a candidate fronted by a ruling party with a long list of corruption scandals under its watch, and an opposition candidate who was forced to resign as Prime Minister over his role in one of the bigger ones, the Richmond scandal. CCM’s saving grace January Makamba, an MP and spokesman for the CCM campaign recently said the opposition had “ceded the anti-corruption agenda” by picking Lowassa as its candidate. This could yet return to haunt Ukawa but an Afrobarometer survey in 2014 found that corruption was only the ninth most important problem Tanzanians wanted the government to address, behind health, education, water supply, agriculture among others. This change in attitudes reflects wider changes in Tanzanian society since the days of Nyerere that could affect the outcome of the election. Long gone are the days of Ujaama socialism; Dar es Salaam and other major Tanzanian towns now spot large shopping malls — those temples of individual consumerism — and major international brands. Younger Africans today are part of a growing, aspirational class of “millennials” born around the turn of, or who came of age at the turn of the millennium and they will have a large say in elections across the continent, including in Tanzania. Some 57 per cent of the country’s 22.7 million registered voters are aged between 18 and 35, while one in four is aged 35 to 49. In fact, with a median age of 17.5, almost half of all Tanzania’s population of almost 50 million were born after Nyerere’s death in October 1999. Many, like Laetitia Mramba, a young woman training as a hairdresser and who says she will vote for the opposition, are restless and impatient. “CCM has been in power for over 50 years,” she says, “we need to see what another party can do once in power. In fact, even if Lowassa wins he may not change much because he has been part of the same party.” Asked by Afrobarometer re- searchers about the overall direction of the country, 73 per cent of respondents said the country was headed in the wrong direction. Another 76 per cent described the condition of the country at the time of the survey a year ago as either “very bad” or “fairly bad.” Such is the palpable need to chart a new course that both the opposition and CCM have run campaigns of change. Rev Dr Aidan Msafiri, a lecturer at the Stella Maris University College in Mtwara pointed out to The Guardian newspaper in Dar es Salaam in a recent interview that awareness of this need for change had informed the ruling party’s decision to print out placards and posters urging Tanzanians to “Vote for Magufuli” and not “Vote CCM” as is the norm. CCM has shown signs of attrition. Some of it has been in the dramatic defection of eminent members, including former East African Community secretary-general Juma Mwapachu who recently handed in his party card on Nyerere Day, accusing the party of betraying the ideals of the Founding Father. The more significant attrition, however, is of “smaller” people moving in bigger waves. Losing dominance In 2005 Kikwete won the presi- dency with 80.2 per cent, with the leading opposition candidate garnering a miserly 11.7 per cent. At the last election, however, Kikwete’s tally dropped by almost four million votes to 63 per cent, while Wilbroad Slaa, more than doubled the opposition vote to 26 per cent. Supporters cheer former prime minister and Ukawa presidential candidate Edward Lowassa at a campaign rally on October 1 in Dar es Salaam. Tanzania will elect a new president on October 25. Picture: AFP The EastAfrican NEWS OCTOBER 24-30,2015 UKAWA’S PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE EDUCATION: He studied at the University of Dar es Salaam in the early 1970s and later joined the military academy at Monduli, Arusha, as a CCM political commissar in the armed forces. POLITICS: He has dominated Tanzanian politics for the past 20 years, during which he has attempted to vie for presidency on a CCM ticket several times. He has been a politician since 1985 when he entered parliament on a special seat representing the CCM youth wing. GOVERNMENT: He has served in various ministerial positions, but his popularity rose in 1994 when, as minister for lands and human settlements, he endeared himself to the public when he ordered the eviction of a Dar es Salaam businessman from the Mnazi Mmoja open grounds, which had been sold dubiously by the City Although CCM’s seats in Parlia- ment dropped to 186 (out of 239) in 2010, from 206 (out of 232 directly elected seats) in 2005, such is the party’s entrenchment that it had almost half as many seats unopposed (17) as Chadema, the opposition party, won, 23. Still, if CCM’s loss of support were to follow a linear path, its candidate could come in with about 46 Council. As minister for water and livestock development (20002005), Mr Lowassa is remembered for introducing modern technology to cattle breeding. He also established livestock auction markets across the country. As prime minister, he was known for being vocal and aggressive, helping to steer different development projects though his biggest achievement was the supervision of the construction of ward schools in 2005. CCM: He and President Jakaya Kikwete were good friends throughout their days in the CCM youth wing. In 1995, both of them sought the presidential candidacy, but had their names withdrawn by the founding president of Tanzania, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, on the grounds that they lacked competency to lead the country. per cent of the vote, possibly enough to carry Mr Magufuli across the line in Tanzania’s first-past-the-post system, but too close for comfort. The restive Zanzibar Islands could be a bellwether for CCM’s wider political fortunes. In the last election, its candidate, Ali Shein beat the opposition CUF’s candidate Seif Sharif Hamad to the presidency there by only 3,471 votes.
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